Arthur Blessitt and His Place - The minister of the Sunset Strip and founder of the His Place nightclub, the psychedelic evangelist came to prominence in the late 1960s after preaching at a local strip club. Blessitt was responsible for Christianizing some of the counterculture's sayings, including "turn on to Jesus," and comparing salvation to an "eternal rush." The local businessmen were successful in getting His place shut down in the summer of 1969 but Arthur chained himself the 12 foot cross in front of the building and fasted for 28 days,--- until they got another building just down the Strip that was kept open for two more years. It was open even as Arthur carried the cross across America and felt called of God to go overseas in the summer of 1971. He has continued to do so until the present. Visit Arthur's website - www.blessitt.com
Lonnie Frisbee - After a short stint with the original street Christian community in San Francisco, Lonnie was recruited by Chuck Smith, then pastor of a fledgling congregation in Costa Mesa, California, to be one of his evangelical liaisons to the counterculture. Frisbee was successful in drawing many to come to Calvary Chapel. During his tenure (1968-1971) as unofficial youth pastor, the church grew from 200 to several thousand members. He was also involved in the Shepherding movement before coming into contact with John Wimber in 1980 where he was integral to the development of the "signs and wonders" theology. In 1993 Frisbee passed away resulting from AIDS. At his funeral he was best eulogized as a Samson figure.
Larry Norman - One of the most popular Jesus music performers, his 1969 release Upon This Rock contributed some of the most lasting anthems of the Jesus People Movement. Songs like "I Wish We'd All Been Ready," with its theme of expectation for the second coming, and "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music," with its apologetic for using rock music as a tool of evangelism, did much to bolster Norman as the premier Jesus rock performer of the revival. His trilogy of albums (Only Visiting This Planet, So Long Ago the Garden, and In Another Land, were extremely influential. Though controversy has continued to follow him, Norman has continued to tour and perform his songs throughout the world.
Jack Sparks and the Christian World Liberation Front - One of three founding fathers of the Christian World Liberation Front (CWLF) on the Berkeley campus of the University of California in 1969. A former statistics professor and Campus Crusade worker, Sparks felt the need to begin a campus outreach to left-wing student activists. In 1975 he and a number of other Campus Crusade members made the move into the Eastern Orthodox church. Most recently he has worked on the Orthodox Study Bible while continuing to teach at St. Athanasius Academy.
Linda Meissner and the Jesus People Army - Former staff worker with David Wilkerson's Teen Challenge program, Meissner founded the Jesus People Army (JPA) in Seattle in response to having vision of "thousands of youths marching for Jesus." After opening a number of outreaches in other areas in the Pacific Northwest basin, the JPA dissolved when she threw her support to the Children of God who took her with them to England. Disillusioned with her decision, she left the group and settled in Denmark.
Jim Palosaari and the Milwaukee Jesus People - Saved at a tent revival meeting in 1969, Palosaari and his wife Sue joined Linda Meissner's Seattle outreach before venturing off to begin a similar outreach in the Midwest in 1971. After growing to approximately 200 members, the Milwaukee Jesus People split into four groups with Palosaari's crew (The Jesus Family) settling in England. While there, the group staged the Lonesome Stone rock musical and founded the annual Greenbelt Music Festival. Returning to the United States, Palosaari established another community in Oregon called the Highway Missionary Society from which the rock group Servant originated. After HMS disbanded, Palosaari continued to work in the CCM business.
David Berg & The Children of God - After taking over responsibility of a Huntington Beach coffeehouse ministry, formerly operated by David Wilkerson's Teen Challenge Organization, evangelist David Berg and his musically-inclined family by 1968 had recruited a modest number of hippie followers. Berg's message centered on compelling listeners to make a radical break with society (the "systemites") by making an "one-hundred percent commitment" to his "Teens for Christ" ministry. Recruits were assured that by this action they would be joining the one true remnant of Christian faith in the last days before the return of Christ.
But because they encouraged teenagers to make such a radical break with society, the group came under the scrutiny of local law enforcement who responded to a number of irate parents wondering where their children were. Charges of "brainwashing" and "kidnapping" ensued. Berg and his group were subsequently chased from their California location and on to the road. Despite these initial rumblings, however, in early 1971 the newly dubbed "Children of God" were still considered orthodox by most, although they were branded as the most radical (and perhaps eccentric) arm of the larger Jesus Movement. The favorable attitude changed soon after, as the charges from parents intensified and some of Berg's internal writings laced with profanities escaped to the public. After stops in Arizona, Quebec (Canada), and a one in the Pacific Northwest where they took over the main operations of the Jesus People Army, Berg and the Children of God (COG) fled to Europe leaving behind a number of lawsuits and scandals.
As Berg became more reclusive, his doctrinal interpretations became more novel. In 1973 it was revealed that Berg had prophesied that female members of the COG were to recruit new members by offering their sexual services. In a writing entitled "Flirty Fishy," Berg asked the female members of the COG, "How far would you go to catch men? All the way?" Word of Berg's deviation from traditional views of Christian sexuality spread like wildfire. An entire cottage industry of apologetics books warned about the COG and their aberrancy despite the fact that their numbers remained under 10,000.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s "The Family of Love" (as they renamed themselves) continued to evangelize with the belief that that the Second Coming of Christ would occur in 1993 as Berg had prophesied. Controversy still surrounds the group as many ex-members have brought forth accusations of sexual abuse and child molestation. Family spokespeople deny the charges. David Berg passed away in 1994 and his legacy is still promoted by his followers (http://www.thefamily.org).
Scott Ross and Love Inn - Seeing the powerful but destructive force rock music could generate from his vantage as a former celebrity disc-jockey, Scott Ross desired to impact teenagers by combining the attractive elements of rock music with positive spiritual messages. In 1968 Ross approached CBN owner Pat Robertson with his vision from which the first Christian rock radio program, Tell It Like It Is, was born. In 1969 Ross opened a community called Love Inn in Freeville, New York where they established a Jesus paper (Free Love) and a record label (New Song) around the talents of guitarist Phil Keaggy. By 1979 Ross left the community to become more involved in the Discipleship movement. By the mid-1980s he returned to CBN where he continues to work.
Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel - Frustrated by church growth contests and recruitment techniques, in 1965 Smith took over as pastor of a tiny congregation in Costa Mesa, California. While watching hippies gather at Huntington Beach he and his wife were moved to find some way to reach these lost youth with the gospel. In 1968 Smith recruited Lonnie Frisbee and John Higgins to start a drug rehabilitation and commune called The House of Miracles. Smith's openness to the hippie culture sparked thousands of hippies to come to the church where he functioned as their father figure. Heavily influenced by premillennial interpretation of the Bible, Smith has become one of the leading figures of prophecy books and end-times publications selling thousands of copies of his various texts. Under his leadership, Calvary Chapel has spawned hundreds of similar churches and is cited as one of this half century's church growth phenomenons.
Ted Wise and the House of Acts community - Converted in 1966 Wise is remembered as the first street Christian converts of the ensuing Jesus People Movement. In 1967 he and his wife Liz (and three other couples) opened The Living Room mission in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Although in operation for only 18 months, the staffers suggested they talked with several thousand people. Wise and his group also came to live in community, taking the Acts' account of the early Christians as a literal guide. The resultant House of Acts community, the first Jesus commune of the movement, stood as a model for other similar communities that sprung up all across the continent. After this, Wise was recruited by Ray Stedman of Peninsula Bible Church (PBC) to work with drug addicts and open rehabilitation clinics. He remains affiliated to PBC to the present. (Read a recent interview with Ted)
Jim Durkin and Lighthouse Ranch - In the summer of 1970 while Jim Durkin was experiencing dissatisfaction with his ministry, he was approached by several Jesus People looking to begin an evangelistic ministry to the hippies. Though initially hesitant, Durkin allowed the young group access to one of his apartment complexes helping them establish a coffeehouse outreach program. As the ministry blossomed they looked to him for leadership. He acquired an abandoned coast guard station eleven miles outside of Eureka, California allowing the young Christians to use this as their new home.
Gospel Outreach Lighthouse Ranch, Table Bluff Road in Loleta, CA
They dubbed it the Lighthouse Ranch. By 1972 the group had grown to between 250 - 300 active members. Under Durkin's oversight the group began to send out church planting teams all over the world eventually calling their growing organization Gospel Outreach. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Gospel Outreach (GO) continued to send out missionary teams including successful campaigns in Mendocino (California), Germany, Nicaragua, and Hawaii. With 100 affiliated churches worldwide the Gospel Outreach network is one of three denominational legacies of the Jesus People Movement.
Victor Paul Wierwille - A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and ordained in the United Church of Christ. Believing that much of the Christian was in error, in 1955 Wierwille founded The Way to educate young men and women in the "correct way of biblical education." In 1968 Wierwille contacted and recruited two members of the first street Christian community in the Haight Ashbury, asking them to head up Way International training centers in California and New York. The Way International raised the ire of other Christian groups, labelled a "cult" because of their antitrinitarian views. One of the largest of all the extremist groups of the Jesus People movement, by the mid-1970s the organization boasted over 20,000 active members. Wierwille died in 1986 leaving The Way International in a state of disarray having to deal with financial mismanagement, accusations that he had plagiarized some of his writings, and sexual immorality.
Greg Laurie - In 1970 Greg Laurie was profoundly influenced by an encounter with hippie evangelist Lonnie Frisbee who was preaching on the lawn of Laurie's Newport Harbor High School. After this experience, Laurie was invited back to Calvary Chapel where in 1972 he was offered oversight over a congregation that had been nurtured by Frisbee at All Saints Episcopal Church in Riverside, California. Under Laurie's leadership the Harvest Christian Fellowship has blossomed into one of the flagships of the Calvary Chapel denomination. In 1990 Smith took his protege and began billing Laurie as the featured speaker for what has become the annual Harvest Crusade meetings. He is noted by some as being the "evangelist of the MTV generation."
Pat Boone & Duane Pederson
Duane Pederson and the Hollywood Free Paper - Duane Pederson was a midwestern entertainer when he felt a call to Christian ministry. Moving to California the young man took notice of the burgeoning counterculture and fashioned an underground newspaper called The Hollywood Free Paper that became the most widely distributed Jesus paper of the time. Pederson sponsored a number of the first Jesus music rock concerts at the Hollywood Palladium featuring some of the best Christians musicians of the time. After the counterculture disipated, Pederson became an author and inner-city pastor before finally aligning himself with the Orthodox Christian Church. He continues in active ministry to prisoners and the poor and homeless.
Hal Lindsey - In 1970 Lindsey left Campus Crusade to begin the Jesus Christ Light and Power Company, a youth oriented ministry on the Los Angeles campus of the University of California (UCLA). Previous to this he had begun to compile a number of eschatologically based sermons publishing them under the title The Late Great Planet Earth later that year. The book became an overnight best seller hitting on a raw nerve of excitement concerning the close proximation of the second coming of Christ. With one eye on the Bible and one towards the daily news, Lindsey's book enchanted Christians into a wave of expectational end-times frenzy. Launched by the success of his first book, Lindsey was commissioned to begin writing others. In 1972 he published Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth, a book based on the theme of worldwide satanic conspiracies. Lindsey has continued to be one of the leading experts of Biblical prophecy traveling throughout the world and continuing to be a popular conference speaker.
Bethel Tabernacle - One of the obscure hippie churches to gain notoriety during the intense media frenzy in 1971. Drawn into the movement when Pastor Lyle Steenis recruited ex-drug addict Breck Stevens to be the church's evangelistic liaison to the counterculture. Although the church claimed that over 100,000 people passed through their doors, the congregation never grew to more than several hundred. After Steenis died in a plane crash in 1972, Stevens took over control of the church despite the protestations of Steenis' widow who may have realized that the young man lacked the necessary maturity. Though he led the church for another 14 years, Stevens committed suicide in 1986.
Toronto Catacombs - In 1968 Gord Morris and Don Rossiter desired to begin a Christian club on the campus of their Toronto high school. After approaching their music teacher who was also a Christian, they formed the Catacomb Club. By 1971 they had grown into a group of 850 and began meeting in St. Paul's Anglican Church where they held a Thursday night 'Praise and Worship Celebration' that at its peak attracted 2,500 enthusiastic teenagers. The core group eventually spawned a church that lasted into the late 1980s.
Explo '72 - Billed as the "Spiritual Woodstock" or "Godstock," the Campus Crusade sponsored event featured a number of evangelical leaders and Jesus Music performers in a week long campaign (May 12-17). Featured artists were Love Song, Larry Norman, Randy Matthews, Children of the Day, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson. The week was closed with a sermon by Billy Graham who had recently penned a book affirming his allegiance with "The Jesus Generation."
John Higgins and the Shiloh Youth Revival Centers Organization - Saved in 1966 after reading the Bible in an effort to disprove it, the former New Yorker started attending the fledgling Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa. Along with Lonnie and Connie Frisbee, John and his wife Jackie were asked to be the elders of the very first House of Miracles communal home in 1968. Under Higgins' leadership a number of other communities opened throughout the southwestern United States all subsequently dubbed The House of Miracles. While scouting some property up in Oregon, Higgins received a vision to move their various ministries north. Naming this first Oregon communal location 'Shiloh' after an Old Testament prophetic passage, the Shiloh Youth Revival Centers Organization (SYRCO) began planting other communal houses throughout the Pacific Northwest. It is estimated that from 1968 to 1978 the SYRCO established 178 locations although no more than 50 houses were in operation at one time. After charges of financial mismanagement and authoritarianism were brought up against Higgins in 1978, he was asked to leave the ministry. The SYRCO battled to stay afloat for the next several years but finally sold their remaining properties and closed operations in 1988. John Higgins moved to Arizona and is presently the pastor of a Calvary Chapel affiliate.
Kent Philpott - As a young pastor and student at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary in 1967, Philpott felt compelled to begin evangelizing in the Haight Ashbury after hearing Scott McKenzie's song "San Francisco." Along with his wife he opened a number of communal houses and was a member of a Baptist organization called Evangelical Concerns which funded some of the street Christian activities in the area. Philpott is presently a pastor in the San Francisco Bay area.
David Hoyt - A member of the Krishna temple when first approached by evangelist Kent Philpott in the Haight Ashbury, Hoyt had a powerful conversion experience and worked towards opening numerous Christian communes. In 1970 he moved to Atlanta and opened Upper Streams and the House of Judah before being the first Jesus People leader to align with the Children of God. Hoyt left the COG after their exodus to Europe. While in England he teamed up with former Milwaukee Jesus People leader Jim Palosaari and his crew. Hoyt is currently writing a book about his experiences.
Don Williams and the Salt Company Coffeehouse - Having just obtained his doctorate from Columbia University, Williams became the youth pastor of Hollywood First Presbyterian Church. Feeling a "Call to the Streets" (the title of a book he wrote on his experiences in the JPM), he began a coffeehouse ministry called the Salt Company where many notable Jesus Musicians played. The church also sponsored a Jesus paper and a couple of communal homes for new converts. Wrote a book on his experiences called "Call to the Streets." After the JPM he taught at Claremont MacKenna College before becoming involved in the Vineyard movement.
Connie Frisbee - While living at a number of hippie communities, Connie became acquainted with and eventually married Lonnie Frisbee. In 1968 they became the fifth couple to live at the House of Acts community in Novato, California where she helped out with the daily routines of making soup and preparing the storefront mission for the regular stream of guests. Though the two were divorced in 1973, Connie remarried and is presently living in Auburn where she shares her experiences with troubled youth.
Sandi Heefner, Judy Doop, Liz Wise, and Sandy Sands - The wives of the four men who organized and ran The Living Room storefront mission in the Haight Ashbury and The House of Acts (the first countercultural Christian community of the revival). Although Ted Wise usually gets credit for being the first convert of the Jesus People Movement, it was Liz's going back to church which really began the desire to search the Bible. Like many unsung participants of the Jesus People Movement, these four women deserve credit for doing the behind the scenes work at The Living Room and House of Acts.
Kathryn Kuhlman - A charismatic healing evangelist who briefly embraced the Jesus People as they became front page news. Kuhlman befriended a number of converted hippies from Calvary Chapel and was convinced to do a number of her "I Believe in Miracles" television shows with them as the main guests.
Edward E. Plowman - As editor of Christianity Today, Plowman was one of the first to report on the emerging 'street Christians,' and follow through with many subsequent stories and editorials on the Jesus People as they progressed into a movement.
Glenn Kaiser - Was a young hippie blues guitarist in Milwaukee when he made contact and subsequently joined a community of Jesus People while they were holding revival meetings in the early 1970s. Was the focal musician in one of the community's two rock bands (named Charity) which eventually was renamed Resurrection Band. After two custom cassette projects the band released their first album entitled Awaiting Your Reply in 1978. Beyond his duties as lead guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist for the band, Kaiser has been an uncompromising voice within the CCM industry and larger evangelical movement. Still serves as a pastor to the Jesus People USA community in downtown Chicago, Illinois where the Jesus People Movement continues.
Martin Meyer 'Moishe' Rosen - While in California as the leader of a missionary organization to Jewish people, Rosen befriended a number of Jewish hippie converts in the late 1960s. He subsequently founded the Jews for Jesus organization which gained a lot of media attention in the early 1970s for their confrontational style of evangelism.
David Rose - Young charismatic hippie who converted and was later influenced by Jack Sparks of the Christian World Liberation Front. Compelled by a vision to open a mission to teenagers in the midwest, he returned to Kansas and opened the House of Agape. By the early 1970s their efforts had spawned a well attended church out of which came the music of Paul Clark and The Hallelujah Joy Band. After joining a mission team to the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Rose ventured to Israel where he functioned as the church's overseas missionary for a number of years. Rose presently runs a successful Hollywood video production company.
Mario Murillo - Pastor who directed Resurrection City, a Pentecostal styled ministry and outreach geared towards presenting the gospel to radical activist leaders at the University of California at Berkeley campus. His ministry continues today and he also has a popular bible study on Christian TV.
Dr. Holy Hubert Lindsey's Website